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Schools of Transactional Analysis

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The cathexis school was founded by Jacqui Schiff in 1974. She worked mainly with young schizophrenic patients, who at the time, were seen upon as incurable. Her main innovation was the technique of Reparenting, which rests on her conviction that psychosis in her patients was the result of destructive and inconsistent parental messages. Contrary to E. Berne, she believed that the Parent ego state isn't fixated but integrates new messages all the time, developing throughout the whole life, which makes social change possible. The technique she used was inviting the patient to regress to an early childhood state, thus decathecting his crazy Parent's ego state. The patient is brought up again with the therapist acting as a positive, consisting and nurturing parent. Bringing him up him up as a member of her ''therapeutic'' family, using nurturing symbiotic relations causes cathecting new Parent ego states. This enables the patient a healthy break from symbiosis. The goal of Cathexis School psychotherapy is cure – to rear oversized infants to healthy adults.

The Cathexis programme was criticised due to highly controversial methods (including violence) and even death of a young patient. Nevertheless, many insights and methods proved themselves as valuable contributions to TA theory and practice. Important concepts in Reparenting are Four Passive Behaviours, Symbiosis, Discounting, Discount Matrix, Redefining and the Frame of Reference.


The Redecision school of TA was developed by Bob and Mary Goulding, members of Berne's San Francisco seminars. They also trained with Fritz Perls (gestalt therapy). They integrated techniques from gestalt therapy (such as two-chair work) into TA theoretical approach to work directly with ego-state conflicts. The Goulding model was primarily carried out in residential marathon form which lasted a week or even a month.

Berne's ''cure the patient'' is in redecision school replaced by ''therapist facilitates the process of the client curing himself'' (The power is in the patient). Responsibility is put on the client: from the beginning she is asked to experience herself as in charge of her thinking, feelings and behaviour. Confrontation is often used.

The term Redecision in Goulding approach means changing a particular script decision within the Child ego state; since the original script decisions were made in Child ego state as answers to injuctions and counterinjuctions from parents, the change or redecision must occur in the Child ego state. When clients play games to reinforce early decisions, the Gouldings would work with them on their bad feeling payoffs or racket feelings. The bad feelings are used to get in touch with early decisions - the focus of treatment is on the A1 or the Little Professor. Then they would work with clients to change the early decision for a new, more appropriate redecision. The crucial step is the Adult awareness in P1. The goal of the therapy is to help clients becoming who they really are.

Transference was avoided in therapy; if the therapist became aware of client transferring from the past onto him, he invited the client to do a two-chair technique, projecting the person from his past onto the chair and entering a dialogue with him/her.

Apart from the Redecision technique, Injuctions and Decisions, the Gouldings contributed to TA theory also with the Impasse theory (three degrees of impasses that relate back to early decisions).


The relational approach was developed by Helena Hargarden and Charlotte Sills at the start of new millenium.

Their approach puts in focus the relationship between the client and the therapist and aims to analyze unconscious processes that emerge in their dynamics. Their relationship is central for insight and change: the client brings into therapy his relationship with himself and figures from past and present and so does the therapist. The therapist explores the therapeutic process for significant paralells that the client experiences in his other relations. The therapist is an authentic object and uses his self to relate to the client in the here and now. Transference and countertransference are thus main vehicles of relational therapy and the primary therapeutic interventions used are empathic transactions.

The change that occurs in transference is mutual; the client changes, but also the therapist moves outside his script and changes his patterns of relating.

The key theoretical concepts of relational approach is a new model of third order structure of the Child ego state (C0,P0,A0) . Interventions used are empathic transactions and interpretations to work with the here-and-now relations between client anf therapist.


Integrative TA was developed by Richard Erskine in co-operation with Rebecca Trautmann and Janet Moursund. It has been developing from early 1990-ies on and is considered to be one of the most important approaches at this time. The main external therapeutical influences on Integrative Psychotherapy were Self-psychology (H.Kohut, modern psychoanalysis), Gestalt (F.Perls) and Person-centered psychotherapy (C. Rogers).

The core concept of Integrative psychotherapy is a contactful interpersonal therapeutical relationship . In the process, the client deals with the early developmental trauma that caused fixation of P and C ego states with the aim of integrating the split parts of personality into the self.

The 3 principal methods are Enquiry, Attunement and Involvement. The combination of those three create an empathic therapy which increases client's awareness. Another important concept of Integrative theory are 8 relational needs that are not pathological and occur throughout the life. We seek to fulfill them in contact and relations with each other.

The Keyhole model presents how all these concepts are intertwined and what is the function of each. Through contact with attuned and involved therapist, the client experiences a new kind of relationship, and with that replaces previous automatic beliefs and behaviors.

The goal of relational therapy is enhancing the clients' relationships in all areas of their life.


Apart from mentioned schools, there are more directions in which TA has been evolving, the most known being the Spiritual approach (Mellor, Clarkson


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